Analytical Essay on Cybercrime and Identity Theft

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Crime happens every day. When you are online you become vulnerable to any form of cybercrime. According to the textbook Go! All in One: Computer Concepts & Applications, cybercrime is “criminal activity on the internet” (Gaskin, Vargas, Geoghan and Gravett 110). Cybercrime is one of the top crimes committed in the United States. National crime agencies, like the FBI, now have areas to stop it. According to the Law Offices of Elliot and Kanter “over 143 million Americans have been affected by computer crimes in the last year, with 80% of those surveyed reporting they or someone they knew had been victimized” (Kanter 2018). There are many different types of cybercrimes; many people have fallen as a victim to them. The different types and most common types are malware, cyberbullying, identity theft, phishing, hacking, and child soliciting and abuse.

Malware is “a type of software that has been particularly designed to gain access to or damage a computer, mostly without the knowledge of the owner” (Raymond 2018). How malware typically happens is when the user clicks on something on the Internet that seems to be trustworthy. This is usually done through different pop-ups online or through email. When malware is installed it takes over the computer and in turn, the computer starts acting very weird. The easiest way to recognize that malware has been installed is if your computer starts getting slower and slower. This is something that is the easiest to recognize. The best way to avoid downloading malware is to make sure what you are downloading to your computer is safe. Word to the wise do not download anything random.

Cyberbullying is the most common type of cybercrime for young adults and teenagers. Many people have been affected by this. Cyberbullying is “bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2018). This type of bullying has become very popular because people can stay behind a screen and do not need to do it face-to-face. Also, for a person to be bullied, they do not have to be mentioned in any posts. Unfortunately, from personal experience, there is nothing a person can do to prevent it. The best way to help prevent cyberbullying is to keep the amount of social media pages to a minimum. There are seven ways to keep track of it “notice, talk, document, report, and support” (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2018). For parents, this will be hard but try to make sure you have access to your child’s social media pages. Two personal experiences for myself have made cyberbullying something that I can get behind to work towards stopping it. With social media becoming more for younger kids, this is happening more and more often.

Identity theft is happening more and more often. “Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud” (United States Government 2019). Unfortunately, this type of cybercrime is becoming more and more common than it was years ago. There are three main types of identity theft. The first is tax identity theft. Tax identity theft is when “someone uses your Social Security number to falsely file tax returns with the IRS or your state” (United States Government 2019). This is very common come tax season. According to Huntington Bank, the best ways to keep yourself safe are to “file your taxes early, be aware of any phishing scams, and safeguard your social security and other personal information” (Huntington Bank 2019). Using these tips for tax season will help identity theft during tax season. Another high identity theft area is medical identity theft. Medical Identity theft is when “someone steals your Medicare ID or health insurance member number. Thieves use this information to get medical services or send fake bills to your health insurer” (United States Government 2019). The worst part of medical identity theft is that you usually do not know it happening until you get the bill for being at a doctor or hospital and that person was not you. The best way to combat this type of identity theft is to check medical bills and report anything questionable. The final main type of identity theft is social identity theft. The easiest way to explain this one is when “someone uses your name and photos to create a fake account on social media” (United States Government 2019). This is becoming more and more common. The best way to make sure someone cannot have access to your account is to make the password hard. This would mean making it longer than you normally would as well as adding special characters and numbers (United States Government 2019). Something that goes for all identity theft is to report everything that you know you did not do yourself.

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Phishing on the other hand is more common than someone would think. Phishing is the “use of email messages or IMs that appear to be from those you do business with, such as your bank, credit card company, social network, auction site, online payment processor, or IT administration” (Gaskin, Vargas and Geoghan 111). Many people fall for these scams because usually they look like they are from a reputable site that you have interacted with in the past. Sometimes suspicious emails do end up in your junk mail, but other times it seems to have come from a reputable source. The best way for anyone to make sure they are getting the correct information is by double checking the whole email or message. Sometimes they are obvious other times they are not as obvious.

Hacking has been around for years when it comes to computers. The definition of hacking is “to break into a network, computer, file, etc., usually with malicious intent” (Harper 2010). There are good and bad hackers out in the world. The bad hackers are the ones who get on your computer or device and sometimes put malicious software on it, or they go through your computer to add something that is not good. Then there are good hackers. In 2006 the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has started a new division. This division is called “FBI can respond with a range of investigative assets, including the little-known Cyber Action Team (CAT)” (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2019). The Cyber Action Team has been a great asset when it comes to hacking, the right way. The best way this is shown is in the tv show “Criminal Minds”. Though it is not very accurate when it comes to portraying the FBI, there is one person who hacks almost every episode. Penelope Garcia, an IT Specialist on the show, is always hacking into other systems during each episode (Davis). Garcia always does the good version of hacking. This is what the FBI does to combat hackers.

Child soliciting is very common on the internet. The definition is “Child solicitation in the United States is the crime of soliciting or luring, or attempting to lure, regardless of the outcome, a child into sexual activity with an adult. The definition of a child about this offense will vary somewhat between states according to different ages of consent” (IAC Publishing, LLC 2019). Each state has different laws regarding the age of a child. The state of Ohio is thirteen years of age for a child. Many pedophiles will use online chat rooms or the more modern version of using direct messages through social media outlets. For young kids they do not know the dangers. The best way to make sure your child is not taking part in this is to keep a close eye on their social media accounts or not let them have social media until they are a certain age.

In conclusion, cybercrime is a nasty topic to talk about. The internet is a dangerous place. Everyone that has either accessed, has current access, or will access the internet is at risk for coming across a form of cybercrime. There are many types of cybercrimes but the seven listed above are the most common. There are task forces with the FBI that were made just to investigate cybercrimes. In February 2013 the United States alone had 355,341 cyber attacks (Dubai Website Design Company). This figure alone is a major amount for a short period of time. In the end cybercrime has not gone down and as anyone can see does not seem to be slowing down.

Works Cited

  1. Criminal Minds. By Jeff Davis. Perf. Kristen Vangsness. 2005. TV.
  2. Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2019. web. 15 March 2019.
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Analytical Essay on Cybercrime and Identity Theft. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
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